When it comes to pet food, there are some basic rules to be aware of to ensure that your dog is getting the nutrition he needs. Puppies require different nutrients than senior dogs do, just as an underweight rescue dog should not be on the same diet as an obese pet. Dogs might also develop allergies to certain ingredients, which would necessitate the introduction of a new kind of product. However, aside from the obvious age requirement changes, or new dietary needs, how can you tell if it is time to try a different pet food product?  Here are 5 signs that indicate your dog might need to try something new.

5 Warning Signs

  1. Weakness. If your dog is starting to be lethargic, lacking energy or motivation to do the things he normally enjoys, you should pay attention. While he might be suffering from a more serious illness, your vet may inform you that a shift in his diet is all that is needed. Food that are high in good proteins and antioxidants will help boost your pup’s energy levels.
  2. Dull/Faded Coat. For humans, the quality of our skin is a huge reflection on what we have been eating. Someone with a healthy diet will have clear, vibrant skin, while someone ingesting a lot of junk food will look dull, or even oily, broken-out, or flushed skin. The same applies to dog coats. If their fur is shiny, full and their skin well moisturized, there may not be a problem with the diet.  But if a pooch has flaky skin and a dry coat, you will need to up his intake of omega-3’s, vitamin E, and other fatty acids.
  3. Stool changes. Your dog might suddenly need to be let outside every hour, or maybe he hasn’t had a decent bowel movement in days.  He might be having increased gas, or a loud rumbly tummy, indicating overproduction of acid, or other gastrointestinal discomforts. Many issues with the gastrointestinal tract are caused by too much or too little of something in the diet. If a dog frequently has loose or liquid stool, he might have an allergy, and if the problem is constipation, that is usually caused by a lack of fiber in his food bowl.
  4. Weight changes. Does your pup’s weight seem to be on the rise?  If a dog’s gut is swelling larger and larger, or he is getting thicker around the neck and back or has plenty of dense skin, it will be time to cut back on the calories.  There are lean pet food products on the market specifically geared towards helping a pup slim down.  These usually are a good combination of minerals, vitamins, micro and macro nutrients, while limiting the fats and oils.
  5. Itchy skin. Just as the dull coat shows that your dog is not receiving a well-balanced diet,  an especially itchy coat might mean he is having an allergic reaction to some ingredient in his current food product.  Pets can get rashes, hives, or exceedingly dry and itchy skin if they are experiencing an allergy.  Switch to a hypoallergenic or “low-allergen” product for better results.